Creating Sacred Space

Sacred. It’s a word that we always hear, but don’t necessarily know what it means. Sure, we know the religious context — holy, important, connected to god — but what about in our homes?

Caravan believes in sacredness. In creating sacred space, in holding space for ourselves, in creating a home and a place for ourselves that feels special, protected, almost holy.

meditation

But creating a sacred space can feel daunting and like a huge undertaking. So to make it a little easier, we reached out to some of our teachers for tips & tricks for creating a sacred space at home:

For my sacred spaces, it’s key for me to set the environment with lighting and scents. I light palo santo, sage, incense, or candles which help to create a cozier environment, awaken your senses, and also add healing properties. I light candles every time I’m home, whether it’s working on my laptop or doing a nightly meditation. Make every moment sacred 🙂
— Lilia, Yoga Teacher, Energy Healer

To create a sacred space is giving yourself a place and permission to let go and recharge your battery.   In a world where we are constantly expending energy and effort, I find the happiest people leave time to take energy in; that’s your sacred space and time.  Depending on your faith, it’s also a way to receive a charge from ancestors and energy of things both past and passed.
— Karen, Pilates Teacher

Rather than creating an inner sacred space, we might say that we learn to illuminate the sanctity that is already there. In my experience, this can begin when there is a humble curiosity and openness around the mystery and beauty of simply being alive. We might open to the fact that we never live in any moment other than the present. Really, have you ever experienced anything else? When we set aside our concepts (which are, of course, not things in themselves) what is it like to just rest in our present-moment aliveness?
— Chris, Meditation Teacher

Notice the rhythm of your breath.
Turn your attention inward and notice how you are feeling – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Set an intention for your day ahead. (A word or feeling that you want to embody for the next 24 hours.)
Notice again the rhythm of your breath and how it’s changed in these few minutes.
Breath in your intention, Exhale let go of judgements, anxiety and fear.
*Keep this up on a daily basis – allow yourself between 5-20 minutes each day.
Bonus: Say out loud or write in your journal 3 things you are grateful for this morning. 
— Deena, Yoga Teacher

Want more? We worked with Arq to create a guide for how to create a sacred space at home. Check it out here.

What is Sound Healing?

Sound is an integral part of who we are and how  we experience the world. Sound Therapy is an ancient technique, used to bring about a sense of balance to our bodies.

Sound is used to help create shifts in our brainwaves through entrainment, which creates a stable frequency that brainwaves can attune to. Through rhythm and frequency, our brains are able to change their state from beta (everyday consciousness) to alpa (relaxed consciousness).

sound bowl therapy

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A sound healer uses different tools (crystal bowls, metal bowls, gongs, tuning forks) to create a shared experience with those participating, bringing the room together to the same frequency, producing a collective feeling of relaxation and healing.

There are so many benefits of sound healing, which include:

– Reducing stress
– Addressing anxieties
– Easing depression
– Improving quality Of sleep
– Reducing chronic pain
– Increasing mental acuity
– Lowering blood pressure
– Easing migraines
– Assisting with chemotherapy treatments
– Unlocking creativity
– Promoting relaxation

Ready to try it? Try a Caravan Wellness Sound Healing session.

Finding the Right Modality for You

Wellness services are having a moment right now, which we are loving, but we know it can feel overwhelming to pick the right modality for your body — do you need a personal trainer? A reiki healer? A meditation teacher? Some combo?

The first place to start is to do a full-body scan. This means taking a moment to check in with each body part (both mentally and physically), from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Starting with your head, check in a see: does anything hurt? Are you feeling focused? Does anything feel off? Repeat the process as you move down your body. If your mind keeps being brought to another part of your body, take a moment to register it, but then return to your methodical scan.

After your scan it’s time to think about the results. Were you thinking about how strong your body felt? Did you feel like you need to strengthen certain parts? Were you feeling anxious, foggy, or stressed? Did you have a really hard time running through your body parts in order and instead felt jumpy and distracted? However you felt, there is the perfect modality for each “issue”, “goal” or “pain point”.

Yoga

What it is: a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline. It includes: breath control, simple meditation, and specific ways of moving and bending your body.

What it’s good for: Yoga can be used for many things, such as: bringing flexibility to the body, building a physical meditation practice, and alleviating physical stress that builds up in the body.

Nutrition

What it is: a guided, specific way of looking at food and how your body reacts to specific food groups so that you can feel your best.

What it’s good for: if you’ve ever had unexplained symptoms (cloudy vision, difficulty focusing, bloating after certain meals, etc), nutrition is a great modality to explore because it sounds like there is something that you’re eating that you shouldn’t be. If you’re looking to lose weight but don’t know where to start, or are having a hard time losing weight, nutrition is great for that as well.

alternative healing, sound therapy, crystal healing, reiki

Alternative Healing

Crystal Therapy

What it is: a practice of placing gemstones on the body to draw out negative energy and to heal mental and bodily ailments.

What it’s good for: eliminating anxiety, bringing mental clarity, removing negative energy, and re-centering the body. Crystal therapy is incredibly restorative and healing.

Reiki Healing

What it is: Reiki is an incredibly high vibration energy that purifies, balances, harmonizes and cleanses the body on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level.

What it’s good for: dealing with past trauma, finding relaxation, restoring the body, and healing chronic pain.

personal training

Personal Training

What it is: personal training involves working with a trainer to build specific muscle groups or promote general health and fitness.

What it’s good for: building up full-body strength, working towards a specific goal (losing weight post-baby, an upcoming event (wedding, graduation, etc), or being able to run a half-marathon)

meditation

Meditation

What it is: Meditation is the practice of guided thought and breathing

What it’s good for: Meditation techniques encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things. It’s great for helping with anxiety, stress, and learning how to focus

massage

Massage

What it is: the manipulation and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands, especially to relieve tension or pain.

What it’s good for: promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and helping with sore muscles

Building a personal practice often means combining all of the modalities that help you achieve your needs and bring your body the peace and healing that it needs. Use Caravan’s services to create a holistic practice — just for you.

Balancing your Chakras with Crystals

Finding balance is something that we all strive to do, but how exactly do you do that? With crystals.

Running in a straight line from the base of your spine to the top of your head are 7 chakras, which when targeted with specific crystals, helps your body to feel balanced and revitalized.

Before we get into the different types of stones, it’s helpful to understand each of the chakras and the different energy centers that they are connected to:

finding balance in the body with chakras

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Once you have picked which chakra, or chakras, you’re looking to balance, you need the right healing stone.

First Chakra:
Location: base of the spine
Energy Quality: feeling grounded, fearless
Color: Red, black
Crystal: Tigers Eye, Bloodstone, Black Obsidian

Second Chakra:
Location: below the navel
Energy Quality: intuition, sexuality, and healing
Color: orange, blue-green
Crystal: Moonstone, Citrine, Coral

Third Chakra:
Location: center of the body (between the navel and breastbone)
Energy Quality: self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence
Color: Yellow
Crystal: Citrine, Topaz, Golden Calcite

Fourth Chakra:
Location: heart center (bridging the mind, body, spirit)
Energy Quality: Find the nuanced balance between all of the energies in the body
Color: pink, green
Crystal: Emerald, Rose Quartz, Jade

Fifth Chakra:
Location: throat
Energy Quality: Ability to express and speak the truth
Color: blue
Crystal: Turquoise, Sodalite, Aquamarine

Sixth Chakra:
Location: between the eyebrows
Energy Quality: intuition, decision making
Color: indigo
Crystal: Amethyst, Azurite, Lapis Lazuli

Seventh Chakra:
Location: crown of the head
Energy Quality: the ability to connect with yourself and with others; the drive to discover enlightenment
Color: violet, golden-white
Crystal: Diamond, Clear Quartz, Selenite

Each specific crystal or stone has specific healing qualities, depending on what exactly your body needs. In picking which crystals your body needs, it is important to do an internal body scan and an internal mental scan to see what your body is asking for, what is maybe feeling stiffer or more uncomfortable than usual, or which qualities you are looking to highlight or bring out within your thoughts.

Why You Should Add Lemon Water to Your Mornings

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We have a suggestion for you — replace your first-thing-in-the-morning cup of coffee with a big glass of water with lemon. Yup — you read that right! What might seem like a inadequate replacement could easily be the best thing that you do for yourself all day long. Here’s why:

Start your day with an immuno-boost

Lemons have vitamin C and potassium in them. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning will give your body that chance to absorb these vitamins. Plus, they give your adrenals a boost, which is always an added benefit.

Get dewy, glowy skin

Hydration is key to clear, beautiful skin. By giving your body first thing in the morning, you can flush the body of toxins and help improve your digestion. Plus, the Vitamin C is needed for collagen production (which will give you that sought after dewy look!).

Combat dehydration

When you sleep at night, your body doesn’t drink any water for 8 hours. Drinking water first thing in the morning allows you to make up the deficit of the previous night.

The Unexpected (and Amazing) Benefits of Meditation

The practice of meditation is taking the world by storm, and you should join in. If you’re picturing some people all in white, sitting on a beach with their eyes closed, you’re sorely mistaken and missing out on a whole bunch of benefits.

benefits of meditation, personal wellness, Caravan

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Meditation has been found to extend your life. A new study completed found that the brains of people who meditated regularly were 7.5 years younger than those who did not.

If you’re looking for clearer skin, try meditating instead of reaching for the retinoids.  Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and inflammation, leading to clearer, healthier skin.

Stress reduction is also tied closely to meditation. While the fight-or-flight response is normal, finding a way to curb that reaction, and channel it into a healthier response is important when looking to stay calmer and feel more balanced.

With addiction to opioids on the rise, try meditation as an alternative to prescription painkillers. The ability to control your mind and breathing, while taking back the power from chronic pain will make you feel like you’re unstoppable.

Whether you’re new to meditation or have been doing it for a while, the benefits are hard to ignore. We can’t recommend a meditation session enough — try it at home, in the park, or a remote session while on vacation — our Caravan instructors will work with you anywhere.

5 Reasons to Work with A Personal Trainer

personal training

Ever thought about working with a personal trainer and then thought “nah, I know what I’m doing — not needed!”? Here are 5 reasons to reconsider that position:

1. You’re much, much less likely to get injured

Picture this scene: you’re in a workout class with 35 strangers. The instructor introduces the next move and it’s one you’ve never done before. You think you’ve got it right, but you’re not sure. Until you walk out of class and your neck is killing you and now you’re very, very sure you had that move wrong. Been there? Same. And it sucks. With a personal trainer, you are the focus of their attention and your form is their number one priority.

 

personal training, less injury, Caravan

 

2. Sessions will be targeted to you — your body, your needs, your goals

Are you trying to get in shape for your wedding? Lose those last few pounds of baby weight? Get a 6-pack before you head to the Hamptons this summer? Whatever your goal is, working with a personal trainer means that the moves in a session are geared towards you and your goals. If your abs are the area that you’re most fixated on, for example, then your personal trainer can give you exercises that are specifically meant to target your abs.

 

3. You’ll get better results, faster

When you have workouts that are customized to your body and your goals, you can track against your goals faster. Your trainer will be able to recognize when you’re ready to add more reps, more weight, or harder modifications. With a personalized workout routine, you’ll see gains (in strength, in muscle, and in confidence) faster.

personal training, better results, Caravan

4. No distractions 

No distractions. No excuses. We’ve all been there — you get yourself to the gym (finally), walk around, feel a little overwhelmed by the different machines, hop on the treadmill to “warm up” and spend the whole time scrolling through Instagram while never really breaking a sweat. Or you head to the gym with a friend and your “ab workout” is really just the two of you lying on the floor chatting. Great for a coffee date. Terrible if you’re trying to actually get a workout in. With a trainer, you session will be focused and effective.

5. Be held accountable

It’s easy to get distracted or too busy to get to the gym or complete a full set of reps, claiming “oh, I’ll get to it next time”. With a personal trainer, you’ll need to show up for every session, you’ll have to do every rep that you set out to do, and you can’t put in 50% of the effort expecting 100% of the results. Say good bye to excuses and hello to a healthy, toned, and strong body!

Ready to make the most of your workout? Try a session with a Caravan personal trainer. We know you won’t regret it!

Should I Say No to Nightshades?

nightshades, nutrition session with Caravan

We’ve been hearing a buzz word everywhere — have you? Nightshades. And apparently, you shouldn’t eat them.

Nightshades, Caravan personalized nutrition session

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But what is a nightshade?!

“Nightshade” is the name referring to the group of fruits and veggies that includes tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and white potatoes (see below for a bigger list). For some people, they can eat as nightshades without an issue, but for others, not so much. Nightshades can cause some to experience inflammation and digestive issues.

What other foods are nightshades?: Tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, potatoes, tobacco, peppers (bell peppers, chili peppers, paprika, tamales, tomatillos, pimentos, cayenne, etc)

Why?!

Within the chemical compound of nightshades, there is a naturally occurring bug repellant, called “glycoalkaloid”. This protects that plants while they are growing, but causing issues for humans when they eat the produce. Unripe tomatoes, for example, have a lot of glycoalkaloid in them, but the potency of it decreases as the fruit ripens.

If you suffer from leaky gut, gluten intolerance, Celiac, or irritable bowel syndrome, chances are this food group is going to give you issues as well because your immune system is already weakened (and therefore is an easy target for glycoalkaloid).

Great — should I quit them cold turkey? 

Nope! No need to jump to extremes. As with any food modification, it’s a good idea to remove one item at a time to see how your stomach and body react (and this way you can easily determine if a change has been meaningful or not). Some people are able to see results if they simply cut out white potatoes and tomatoes, and are fine eating eggplants and peppers — it’s all about listening to your body!

Did we pique your interest? Are you having some of the symptoms above? Try a Caravan nutrition session.

Picking the Right Yoga Practice

private yoga, yoga, Caravan

Whether you’re just getting started with yoga, or you’re looking to expand your practice, figuring out the best type of yoga to try can be tough.

It can be overwhelming to pick your practice — if you’re new to yoga, the names of the styles can be nearly impossible to pronounce, much less recognize what the (sometimes subtle) differences are and for a more experienced yogi, there’s so much to choose from it can feel impossible to decide which style to try next — so we’re breaking down the most popular types of yoga to help you figure out which style is best for you!

Practicing yoga dates back to the 3000 BC. Traditionally, yoga was practiced only by men, but in modernity, women make up the largest portion of practitioners in the West.

Ancient yoga was more about stilling the mind and practicing mindfulness, while here in the West, we often focus more on the physical side, or the poses involved.  Poses in yoga are called asanas, and the difficulty of the poses varies immensely.

Yoga is most often referred to as a practice, rather than a journey with an end goal.  In yoga, you are continually seeking to perfect your poses as well as calm your mind.  It’s okay to be imperfect when you begin, or even after several weeks or months of practice – that’s why it’s called practice!  You keep working at it.

Some common types of yoga:

Vinyasa – Find your flow as you coordinate your movements with  your breath to flow from one pose to the next.

Hatha – Build heat as you move slower and hold poses longer. If you’re looking to really feel each pose, this is the style for you.

Kundalini – One of the more intense practices, Kunadlini incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras, such as Sat Nam, meaning “truth is my identity.”

Ashtanga – Physically demanding practice commonly known as power yoga, perfect for an athlete or someone looking to push their body. I haven’t personally taken an Ashtanga yoga class, but I’m familiar with it. They don’t practice yoga on certain days and it’s a physically demanding practice.

Anusara – Looking to turn more inwards with your practice? Try Anusara, which is a celebration of the heart, focusing on heart-opening poses like backbends.

Inspired? Try a session with Caravan.

 

What is Reiki?

personalized reiki healing session

Maybe you have heard about the reiki from a friend, or seen it on a spa menu sometime, or maybe this is the first time you’re hearing the term. Whatever your history with reiki is, we’re happy to give you a little more information about reiki.

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Created by a Buddhist monk in the 1920s, reiki is a practice that works your energy. While the term literally translates to “laying on hands” and is meant to be a restorative, balancing practice. At times, a reiki treatment can feel like a guided meditation, like you’re recharging your battery, or can create the feeling of expanding your mind and consciousness.

Whether you’re looking to find more balance in your life, bringing yourself back to center, or you’d like to try something new, Caravan’s healers will create a session designed entirely around your needs.